Streamline your Patient Journey, Boost Turnover and Save Money with a Dental Practice Phone System
A survey completed by DentaVox found that of 1,176 participants, 79% of the patients who booked online had a better experience than those who booked over the phone. 1 The survey also showed that 51% of participants still book their appointments over the phone. 1 The ultimate takeaway from the survey is not to abandon the phones and go fully online but to improve the patient journey over the phone.
This article explains how a well-designed and executed hosted cloud-based VoIP phone system can improve your patient journey and your bank balance.
1. Never Miss New Patient Calls
Prioritise calls: iceConnect’s cloud-based smartphone systems are configured to prioritise phone calls based on the type of enquiry. During busy periods, new patient enquiries will be jumped to the front of the queue. This system reduces the risk of losing a new patient during busy times of the day.
Overspill system: The overspill system is a backup for when all the phones at the reception are in use. Excess calls get diverted to other available phones in the business. Overspill phones can be located anywhere globally, whether it’s in the next room along, another dental practice or an off-site receptionist. This system gives you the flexibility to increase your call answering capacity during busy times and not miss new patient enquiries.
Call from any site: The ability to call from any site is a powerful tool, especially if you have a multi-practice business. This feature enables your staff across the entire business to work collaboratively. Calls can be diverted from busy practices to quieter ones. The on-screen details will inform the receptionist of the specific site the call is from. The receptionist will pull up the correct booking calendar and answer the phone as if they were at that site in.
2. Analysing Phone Activity
Marketing ROI: It’s one thing to increase your Instagram followers by 50% or get an extra 500 engagements each week on your Facebook, but ultimately, these efforts need to translate into new patient enquiries. iceConnect’s intelligent phone systems have built-in reporting and analytic features. They provide in-depth insights as to how many of your enquiries are from new or returning patients, so you’ll now know whether the extra 20,000 followers on Instagram are converting into new patient enquiries.
Serviced call ratio: As your practice becomes busier, you will need an effective team to serve as many calls as possible whilst maintaining a high-quality patient experience. A key reporting feature is the Percentage Serviced tool.
This is the ratio of answered calls vs abandoned calls. It’s always worth keeping an eye on the Percentage of the serviced call ratio. Anything under 99% answered is money straight into your competitors’ pocket, so make sure your team is answering every call.
Ring time: Good phone etiquette dictates that you should answer in under 10 seconds. According to Dentaleconomics.com, the average time a dental patient is willing to spend on hold is 40 seconds. 2 You can be sure that a patient with severe toothache won’t be thrilled to be waiting on hold.
Ring time and serviced calls are often two sides of the same coin. If you focus on bringing down ring time, you will find the serviced calls percentage will take care of itself. iceConnect’s advanced analytics and reporting features will give the insights you need to decide where and when you need to allocate your staff.
Remember that as ring time and serviced calls go down bookings and turnover increase.
3. Cost Saving
Free unlimited calls: In the UK, the average cost of a landline to a mobile phone is between 10p and 20p per minute. Based on 30 two-minute calls a day to mobile phones, that equates to a cost of at least £186 a month. iceConnect’s cloud-based VoIP phone systems eradicate all these costs. All calls to landlines and mobile phone are free and unlimited.
Unlimited scalability: Business phone systems should be limitless in their scalability. With a traditional phone setup, the amount of phones you can use is limited by your phone line. Increasing the number of phones usually means adding another phone line. The average cost of a new BT landline is £140. On top of that, you’ll then have a large phone bill to swallow each month.
The equivalent of this with iceConnect’s cloud-based phone systems is a mere £7 a month per extra phone with no added setup fees. This limitless scalability has meant our clients can expand their practices without the stress and cost of setting up multiple landlines.
Cost of losing a patient: The average price of root canal treatment is around £380 per tooth. Secondly, the average price of a dental implant is around £2,000 per tooth. So, if your old phone system is causing new patients to hang up and book elsewhere, that’s potentially thousands of pounds down the drain every month.
Don’t take patient slippage lightly. We have helped dental practices that were losing over £30,000 a month in lost patient enquiries. It wasn’t uncommon to find practices answering as little as one in three calls throughout the day. This was purely down to their old, defunct phone system creating an unsatisfactory patient journey.
4. Boosting Turnover
Convert more new patients: The primary role of an effective dental phone system is to create the perfect patient journey that translates into bookings. The perfect patient journey will ensure no patient is left feeling dissatisfied to the point where they hang up and book an appointment elsewhere.
According to statista.com, the average UK household spend on dental services in 2019 was £3,270. 3 Let’s do some quick maths based on a phone system losing one new patient (including household) a week.
£3,270 x 52 (weeks in a year)
Potential loss = £170,040 per year
Whilst that number may seem frightening now, wait until you have multiple practices, each with upwards of two phones at reception. Then you can expect this number to multiply reasonably quickly.
Efficient re-bookings & cancellations: As all dentists know, an empty chair makes around £0.00 an hour. All efforts must be made to make sure the chair stays busy by filling cancelled appointments, especially during peak times.
According to Dentaleconomics.com, the average patient will hang up after 40 seconds of being on hold. 2
If a phone system doesn’t prioritise cancellations and rebooking enquiries, you’re asking for an empty chair. Patients kind enough to give sufficient notice that they need to reschedule or cancel should be prioritised.
iceConnect’s smart dental phone systems have been designed to prioritise specific enquires over others. This prioritisation ensures appointment gaps are kept to a minimum.
Ultimately, the best phone system for a dental practice is a communication tool as well as a business growth tool. To excel at both, you need to make sure your phone system has the capacity to address the points mentioned in this article.
To learn more about how iceConnect’s cloud-based smart dental phone systems can boost your profits and patient journey, book a free online demo with our CEO, Haree Patel.